“He’s got a hip knife, a side knife, a boot knife, a shoulder knife, and a little bitty one that’s a combination flare gun, dinner set, and genuine police whistle…”
Lyrics from the song Garet Trooper by Barry Sadler
Every man needs a pocket knife. It serves both as a tool for daily tasks and as a weapon for self-defense in extreme situations. For field work a prepared individual may carry up to three knifes or more. In the field I generally carry a pocket knife for general purpose, a multitool on my belt for more technical tasks, and, if appropriate for the mission, a combat knife for more heavy duty work. But for now, we will be discussing the new U.S. Military pocket knife – the Combat Utility Knife. One must keep in mind that this is a utility knife and not a combat knife. I suppose that John Wick can use the 3.25” locking blade to take out his adversaries, but for the rest of us the only thing we will be cutting is parachute cord, opening our mail, or cutting the straps off of a case of MRE’s so you can grab the best meals… And this knife is not a replacement for a multitool, which is designed for other functions more mechanical in nature.
For decades the standard military pocket knife was the Camillus “demo” knife (model 1760), a very basic and very unsexy utility knife (I carried one for many years in the pocket of my field pants).
Camillus Model 1760 “demo” knife
But now there is a new knife in town, the Victorinox “Combat Utility Knife”. This updated military pocket knife is not only more useful, but far better looking, than the trusty demo knife.
Let’s take a closer look at this new model.
The new U.S. Military Combat Utility Knife
The knife is made by Victorinox (pronounced vic-TOR-ee-nox) in Switzerland, makers of the world-famous Swiss Army knives. All of the blades and implements are stainless steel coated with black oxide which gives the knife the required tactical look as compared to its polished blade civilian siblings.
The handle, or scales according to Victorinox, has proprietary U.S. markings on one side and is made of a two-component material, dual-density Polyamide, with the green parts being hard plastic and the black parts being softer rubbery material for a better non-slip grip.
The full metal liner contains the large (main) blade which has a hole for easy one-handed opening. The blade has a 3.25” cutting edge which is approximately 2/3 serrated (great for cutting thick rope) and 1/3 straight edge. The main blade locks in the open position and is released by pushing the locking liner to the right. The blade also has the year of manufacture stamped on the tang in 2-digits.
On the same pivot is a very capable bi-directional saw blade, which means it cuts in both directions – pushing and pulling. The saw blade is non-locking and designed for cutting wood, but it does a great job on cardboard and other similar materials. There is also a tried and true can opener (non-locking) with a small 3mm flathead screwdriver.
On the other end is a bottle opener with a large 5mm flathead screwdriver. The tool snaps into the 90-degree position and locks into the fully open position. At the base of the bottle opener is a wire stripper/wire bender. Unlocking the tool is the same as the large blade – pushing the locking liner to the right.
On the back, or spine, of the knife is a Phillips head screwdriver (size 1-2), non-locking, which can be used as a t-handle screwdriver. There is also a non-locking reamer (not an awl – there is a difference) which can be used for punching/drilling holes in plastic, leather, or wood.
And last is the lanyard ring which can be used to attach a “dummy cord” for all those absent-minded people who tend to lose things.
Overall the Combat Utility Knife is a well-designed and manufactured knife that should serve the user well for many years of tough use. And Victorinox backs their knives with a lifetime warranty.
- Length open (large blade open): 7.75”
- Length closed: 4.4”
- Thickness: .7”
- Weight: 4.7 oz.
- Length of large blade (cutting edge): 3.25”
- Length of saw blade (cutting edge): 3.5”
- Large blade with serrated edge, lockable
- Reamer, punch
- Bottle opener
- Screwdriver 5mm, lockable
- Wire stripper
- Wood saw
- Phillips screwdriver
- Can opener
- Screwdriver 3mm
- Lanyard ring
The “Other” versions
Some of you will notice that this Combat Utility Knife looks much like some other knives on the market, such as the Victorinox “Soldiers Knife 08”, “German Army Knife”, and the “Onehanded Trekker”. The obvious difference is the U.S. Military version has black oxide coated blades and U.S. marked handle. The Trekker additionally has the always popular toothpick and tweezers normally seen on civilian Victorinox Swiss Army knives. These knifes are all available for order through Amazon or other retail sources.
This new U.S. Military Combat Utility Knife is a fantastic utility knife and a long-overdue replacement for the old demo knife. I will still be using my SOG folder as my everyday carry knife as the Combat Utility Knife does not have a pocket clip (one can be glued on if desired), but this knife will be in my pocket whenever I go out into the field for shooting, hunting, camping, and any other action-related activities.
Where to get one
This U.S. Military version is not available through the Victorinox catalog or website, and it is not available on Amazon or through any store or retail outlet (the civilian version and siblings are available through retail outlets). For the military, the “Knife, Combat Utility” can be ordered through DLA using NSN 1095–01–653–1166. For all others, if you ask nicely, you can order the knife through the US Distributor, The Windrose Group, LLC at:
Joe Traurig, Manufacturers Rep for Government & Military Sales
(215) 947-0200 or (215) 913-1951
And don’t forget to tell Joe that 18Bravo sent you…
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